UK & World News

  • 27 December 2013, 4:08

Family Of Doctor Killed In Syria Mourns 'Star'

The funeral has taken place of a British surgeon who died while in custody in Syria.

Abbas Khan was on the verge of being released when his family were told he had died - the Syrian authorities said he had committed suicide, but his family say he was murdered by the regime.

In a tribute to the 32-year-old orthopaedic surgeon from London, Shahnawaz Khan described him as the family's "star".

At a packed funeral prayer service at Regent's Park mosque in London, Dr Khan said: "Last night I sat down to undertake the morbid task of writing a eulogy for my brother.

"My brother, to us, was our star. His star shone on our family."

Dr Khan described by his brother as the "kindest and simplest man I've ever met", speaking of the "evil that has taken him from us so cruelly" and saying the family had been through "one of the most difficult times we have ever seen".

He recalled his childhood play fighting and sleeping beside him.

"Now seeing all of you, and remembering those days, I feel I was truly blessed," he said.

After the funeral, the surgeon's mother Fatima was overcome with grief and, as people tried to comfort her, said: "Nobody help me, I love my son. I am the loser. I'm the failure.

"I beg everybody. I touch everyone's feet. Please give me my son."

A man then wrapped his arm around her and took her to a car where she was driven away.

Earlier this month, the family revealed a letter in which the doctor expressed his optimism at being released and his hopes of being home in time for Christmas.

Speaking outside the mosque before the prayers, family solicitor Nabeel Sheikh said: "The family would like to express their sincere gratitude at the level of support they've received this morning.

"There is a very, very large turnout and I think that is testament to the significance of this case and the emotions that are running high at the moment.

"For today's purposes the family is very, very grateful for the level of support they've received from the British public so far and the priority for them is obviously to lay the body to rest so they can have some form of closure.

"... The process of the inquest will start tomorrow and will conclude in due course after which we will consider what legal avenues are open to us to conclude this matter, and hopefully find some form of justice if that exists in this case."

He said the idea of suicide was "inconceivable".

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